The Kings And Queens Of Hip Hop, Now On Stamps

Madina, a British artist and designer, has launched a collection of stamps featuring hip hop artists of the golden era of the genre, in the 1980s-90s.

All photos: Madina

For a very long time — until 2005 in fact — stamps in the United Kingdom only depicted members of the Royal Family. Except for a few lucky ones, like the Beatles, Freddie Mercury or a couple of successful athletes, the Royal Mail stuck to this policy.

By contrast in the United States, over 800 people have appeared on American stamps since the first one was issued in 1847. These include a wide range of historical figures from presidents to inventors, scientists, actors and musicians.

But never has a stamp featured a hip hop artist. Some might say there are better role models out there than a music genre that has been known to advocate crime or drugs — but hip hop also puts forward the path to success, fighting for one's dreams and for justice, and it may even help cure depression.

This is why British designer and artist Madina launched “Golden Era of Hip Hop Stamps,” his own collection that pays tribute to 42 artists that “propelled the genre from humble beginnings in the block parties in New York to the global phenomenon we see today,” he explains on his website.

Madina was inspired by Public Enemy’s 2012 album and song “Most expand=1] of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp”, which is also a lyric that appears in the group’s classic 1989 track “Fight expand=1] the Power”.

“My designs are largely influenced by hip hop, which inspired the ‘Golden Era’ hip hop stamp collection,” Brighton-based Madina explains. “The design has been acknowledged and well received by a number of the hip hop artists, such as Chuck D, Kool Keith, Maseo and Keith Murray, among others,” he adds.

The 42 artists in the collection also include Notorious B.I.G., J Dilla, Ice Cube, 2Pac or Rakim. The stamp designs are also available on hoodies, t-shirts and posters. Madina now warns: If you still think ""most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps', a few words of advice, "Don’t believe the hype.""

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Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Properly dressed in the holy city of Qom.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

A woman in Tehran walks past a mural of an Iranian flag

The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes

Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA

New academic discipline

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

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